14 September 2021

4 min.

One-on-one meetings: A worthwhile must-have

As a manager, you hold regular team meetings with your employees to keep abreast of the progress of various projects in your area, and to communicate what is needed to keep your daily operations running smoothly.

That’s enough, isn’t it?

Actually, it’s not. While team meetings are important and necessary, frequent one-on-one meetings with employees are also essential to your team’s health and wellbeing!


Why are one-on-one meetings with employees so important?

As a manager, one of the most important (if not THE most important) responsibilities is to ensure that you build open and trusting relationships with your employees. To be at their best, it is essential that your team members feel:

  • Seen
  • Heard
  • Considered

When this is the case, it becomes much easier to talk about work-related topics together, even when the conversations are more difficult. And where the magic happens is in the one-on-one meetings.

When should one-on-one meetings be held with employees?

One of the keys with one-on-one meetings is to make sure they happen on a regular basis… And every organization is different.


Frequency > Length

In fact, for these meetings to be meaningful, frequency is one of the elements to be favored, sometimes more than length. A good way to think about it is that the closer the meetings are to each other, the shorter they usually need to be!

If possible, you should aim for once a month. And it’s even better if you manage to ensure weekly or bi-weekly meetings to allow the manager-employee relationship to develop.

What if you haven’t started yet?

Not used to holding these one-on-one meetings with your employees yet? Don’t worry about it! As the saying goes, better late than never. The best time to adopt proven management practices is… now!

Get started!


Key moments for one-on-one meetings with employees

Beyond the need for regularity, there are key moments when one-on-one meetings with employees become even more meaningful.

When you start as a manager

This is the time to set the tone for the relationship you want to cultivate with your team members, anchoring it in the values that are most important to you and the standards you want to set for your team.

When a new person joins your team

When a new person joins your team, take the time to really get to know them. It’s sometimes harder to ask questions of your team members once you’re in the thick of things – so take the time to do this early on!

Also consider going through the process again once the employee’s probationary period is over, to ensure that expectations are still clearly understood on both sides.

At the end of a major project

While you may have planned an opportunity to do a project post mortem as a team, the end of a major project can be an excellent opportunity to also organize individual meetings with employees to take stock of their experiences, insights, and aspirations.

Before and after a transition

By building relationships with your team members that are rooted in openness and trust, you can play a crucial role in supporting them through a transition, especially if the transition leads to destabilization within your team or among some of its members.

By ensuring that you have one-on-one meetings before and after the transition, you will be in a better position to understand your team’s daily life.

When training needs are expressed

Another key moment when the one-on-one meeting takes on its full meaning is when a training need is felt or expressed by a team member. In this context, the meeting allows us to clearly identify the employee’s needs and to be able to provide training solutions that meet those needs.